Bullied Boy's Birthday Goes Viral

Grime star Stormzy, actor Russell Crowe and astronaut Tim Peake are among the celebrities who have flooded a bullied boy with birthday wishes following an appeal from his father.

Chris Hope-Smith, from Leeds, tweeted an appeal for "anyone famous/well known" to send his son Ollie a "positive/9th birthday message".

He admitted it was a "strange request" but explained his son was being bullied and would "love someone to tell him he does mean something and bullying is not ok, ever".

Celebrities were quick to send their words of support, with the original message retweeted more than 12,000 times as it spread across the world.

Grime star Stormzy tweeted: "Happy birthday Ollie! You're a lil legend. Don't watch the bullies they always end up being the biggest wastemen later in life."

Astronaut Tim Peake wrote: "Hope your 9th birthday is out of this world Ollie. Just remember - a bully is a person too scared to do the right thing. Aim high dude!"

Actor Russell Crowe said he had heard it was the youngster's birthday and offered his "Congratulations", while former Labour Leader Ed Milliband told the schoolboy to "remember people are really lucky to have you as a friend".

The Simpsons animator Eric Keyes posted a picture of his most famous creation, Bart, and wished Ollie an "awesome day".

Vloggers Alfie Deyes and Zoella posted a video message, telling the youngster he was "already above the bullies" and that was why they were picking on him.

Sports presenter Jake Humphrey recorded a video message, saying: "Happy birthday. Have a good one, ignore the haters, stay strong son."

Comedian Al Murray wrote: "Hey Ollie. Chin up mate, and remember, that bully is only picking on you because he knows you're awesome and he isn't."

Fellow comedian Jason Manford recorded a video, telling Ollie: "Just wanted to say happy ninth birthday. Nine years old ... I can't remember what I was doing ... probably chasing girls around with a bit of dog poo at the end of a stick. Have a great day son."

Sports stars also got involved, with the England football team inviting Ollie to watch them play in September, while Olympian Tom Bosworth offered to meet up with the family to give Ollie some Olympic Team GB kit.

Mr Hope-Smith said he feared he had "broken Twitter" due to the "crazy" number of responses to his request, promising to get back to every single well-wisher.

Ollie's mum Natalie also thanked people for their "kind thoughts", writing: "It is heart-breaking listening to an 8 year old think that he is worthless and 'shouldn't be here'.

"I know that we are definitely not the only ones in the world to be going through this but I just want to say, from the bottom of my heart 'Thank You' so much. You really don't know what this means".

Ollie celebrates his ninth birthday on 5 July.

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